Last week, Awakenings Festival‘s organizers revealed the headliners for their digital makeup event, Awakenings Online Weekender. As Black Lives Matter protests continue across the globe, some have called the curators of the lineup tone deaf for failing to include electronic musicians of color.
Awakenings 2020 was canceled in April due to COVID-19 restrictions. In its place, the Weekender promises a 3D experience of Amsterdam club Gashouder from June 26th-28th featuring performances by the likes of Kölsch, Nina Kraviz, Amelie Lens and Pan-Pot. The event is free but includes a portal through which viewers can purchase donation packages with 100% of profits going to the Netherlands Red Cross.
With house and techno’s origins in black culture as relevant a topic as ever, the absence of black artists has nonetheless landed Awakenings in the crosshairs of activists. Some have accused the event brand of performative allyship for participating in the June 2nd industrywide blackout with no apparent action as follow through. Others have called upon specific headliners to withdraw from the event.
This is a primary example of performative allyship from one of the biggest event series in our scene. To the leadership at Awakenings, plz make a conscious effort to do better moving forward.
— 🌐 Ryan Clover 🌐 (@RyanClover) June 22, 2020
Hey @AmelieLens, checking in to see what you’ve done since we spoke. You’re taking part in an all-white stream organized by @awakenings which means you should do more, cancel the booking and use your platform to address this issue publicly. https://t.co/kYkTU0ivDf
— Curve Gotti (@Sorayea) June 24, 2020
At the time of writing, Awakenings has not issued a public statement in regards the Weekender’s lineup diversity.
Over the past month, protests have erupted in countries across the globe in response to May 25th death of George Floyd. Bystander videos all but confirm Floyd’s murder at the hands of since-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who apparently knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes as he lay handcuffed and begging for his life.
In addition to calls for reform of law enforcement systems that unfairly target people of color, demonstrations have drawn attention to how systemic racism permeates through other aspects of society. Awakenings is not the first electronic music brand to land on the wrong side of the narrative. Last week, Native Instruments apologized for a 2017 promotion that contained the N-word after being called out by a former employee.
A spokesperson on behalf of Awakenings has not responded to Selector‘s request for comment at the time of writing.